29/09/2011

By Guy Rigby, Director & Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson

All growing companies want to improve performance, productivity and efficiency. With the right motivation you can achieve all three, yet many companies lack an explicit reward strategy and haven’t considered which incentives their employees respond to best.

Although it’s obviously an important factor, it’s not just about the money. Research shows that as long as people feel they are being paid fairly, how much they are prepared to give depends on how well they are understood, appreciated and treated. And, the more employees you have, the more impact motivation, or the lack of it, will have on your business. The better you treat your staff, the better they’ll treat your customers and you as a business.

With today’s organisations being far flatter in terms of hierarchy than the multi-layered businesses of yesteryear, there are fewer opportunities for promotion through the ranks. This means that business leaders need to seek out alternative methods to motivate their people.

For most people there will be four key motivating factors: financial security, the job itself, scope for learning and development, and recognition and reward. A company’s ‘total reward’ offering may encompass each of these areas and include salary, bonuses, share awards, benefits, pension, life cover, training, career development, company culture and the working environment.

Financial security

Although money isn’t always the most important consideration when deciding to join or stay with a business, we need to pay our bills, put food on our table and feel adequately secure before we can be motivated to achieve more demanding or superior objectives.

Rather than eating into your profits, paying the right people well can have the opposite effect, not only by encouraging loyalty and reducing staff turnover, but by boosting motivation and performance. So make sure you are competitive and do some salary benchmarking.

Some roles include elements of both fixed and variable pay. Examples include sales commission, performance bonuses and profit sharing based on the achievement of specific objectives or results. While these are often necessary and desirable, they need to be structured to encourage both individual and team performance.

The job

In most instances it’s the job itself that’s the source of true motivation. In order to function well and be fully engaged, employees need to be interested in and inspired by the roles they play, the projects they’re involved in and the tasks they carry out. They also need to know what’s expected of them, how they fit into the wider organisation and how they will contribute to overall objectives and performance.

Staff that are truly inspired by their roles are more driven, taking personal responsibility for the future success of their area, or of the business as a whole. They will be amongst the best attenders, the hardest workers and the biggest achievers. They will always be positive and busy, either working at their role or developing their ideas for the future. They will never be bored and they will show extraordinary commitment. Lucky are the businesses that can identify these individuals, empowering them and encouraging them to succeed. They’re worth their weight in gold.

Learning and development

Remember that businesses that commit to promoting learning and development will gain far greater commitment from their staff. Employees who identify a supportive approach and a long-term opportunity in your business are much more likely to stay. Hold regular appraisals with your staff to discuss their performance, their learning and development needs and plans for career progression and advancement.

If you care for your staff, they will care for your business – they’ll be ambassadors for your brand, while celebrating your culture and giving you the best chance of success.

To find out how we can help you motivate your workforce with the right ‘total reward’ offering, call Guy Rigby on 020 7131 8213 or email guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk

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Watch the video below featuring Hugh Margesson of Smith & Williamson on how best to reward your staff.

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